Fiveways Gardens....Oct 2013

This is the time of year for tidying up in the garden.  I know, it's not the most exciting garden task, but at least you can stand back and really see the impact of the time spent.  A few days before hosting a meeting with 5 garden designers last week, I found myself looking at my own garden, and a bit of a panic hit me - the lawn hadn't been cut for who knows how many weeks, perennials browning off and collapsing onto the lawn and borders, empty pots and plant trays here and there, deck not swept.... etc etc.  At last, I had the motivation needed to prioritise my own garden.  A few hours and 3 big bags of rubbish and green waste later, and I could really see the difference.  There's loads more to do, of course, but it was a great start.  All the dead heading means that I'll enjoy the flower - power in the garden for a few more weeks too.   Don't be too extreme in the tidying, as birds feed off some seedheads and beneficial bugs can over-winter in some stems and under leaves.  As usual, take a balanced approach - it's got to look nice for you, but also do some good for our wildlife.

Regularly rake leaves off lawns and consider giving them some autumn TLC - autumn feed, weed, rake, aerate and scarify.  Also, re-seed those bald patches.  It's a good time to plant just about everything - unless you're waiting for bare-root stock in winter and get any hedges clipped now or leave them til next spring.

Prune buddleia, lavatera and tall rose bushes by about a third to reduce wind damage and tidy shrub and climbing roses, and most other climbers by removing any spindly & wayward stems. 

If you haven't already, get ordering your bulbs.  The more I've gardened, the more I come to appreciate these amazing plants.  Winter, especially the past few, can seem to drag on and on, and the emergence of the first green leaves and flower stems in late winter and early spring, really does cheer me up. 

In the veg garden, leave pumpkins and squashes on the plants as long as possible, as they'll store better. Leeks can also be left in the ground.  Lift and divide rhubarb, if necessary.  Dig up the last of the beetroots, potatoes, carrots, cabbages and beans and store well.  Apples and pears generally store really well, simply wrapped separately in newspaper and stored in a cool shed or garage. 

Gather up all the bird feeders in front and back gardens and give them good soak and thorough clean in readiness for the coming autumn and winter.

Best wishes


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